A University of Windsor alumnus and his spouse were recognized Monday for their dedication to the research taking place at the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research (GLIER), and for their financial support of renovations to a conference room that is the site of countless academic gatherings and public events.
The Alex S. Davidson Conference Centre for Environmental Excellence was named to honour Alex Davidson (BComm 1966) and his wife Audrey, whose donation supported upgrades to the room’s windows, lighting, flooring, furniture, and Great Lakes themed decorative paneling.
“This generous donation provides a critical boost to the infrastructure of GLIER,” said UWindsor interim president Douglas Kneale. “The Davidsons’ gift recognizes the importance of creating a human, discursive space where new ideas will be forged in the heat of intellectual debate and discovery.”
Alex Davidson, who was born and raised in Windsor, spent 30 years in the start-up, ownership, and management of more than a dozen companies in the manufacturing and resource sectors, followed by a post-retirement career with CJ Clark Ltd., a Toronto-based wealth manager, where he worked as a senior advisor and portfolio manager until 2017.
He currently serves as a chancellor for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, as well as a director of the foundation’s affiliated Canadian Clinical Trials Network. He has also been involved in Great Lakes environmental concerns through his work with the Georgian Bay Association and related organizations.
Davidson has been a benefactor and supporter of GLIER for many years. In addition to the conference centre, he established the Alex Davidson Great Lakes Stewardship Award in 2011, which each year provides an $8,000 award to students whose graduate research supports the conservation of the Great Lakes.
“The Alex S. Davidson Conference Centre has become the academic heart of GLIER,” said Christina Semeniuk, associate professor and the institute’s graduate co-ordinator. “It is integral to the students’ pursuit of protecting our Great Lakes resource.”
Davidson said his UWindsor history, a time of “study and fun,” motivated him to contribute to GLIER: “For all my life, the Great Lakes has been the repository of all of my peace and recreation… it’s also been a source of long-standing worry that this resource could be depleted. GLIER is working to ensure future generations can enjoy the lakes as I have.”